Could Cannabis Help People With Lung Diseases?

There is much talk in medical circles about the use of medical marijuana (or cannabis) for a variety of chronic illnesses, but could it also benefit those living with chronic lung disease?

MORE: Nine questions to ask your doctor about bronchiectasis

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 23 states in the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C., but its use is a contentious issue with as many people for it as are against it.

How could medical marijuana help those living with chronic lung diseases? According to the Lung Institute, medical marijuana has been found useful in reducing inflammation, improving sleep, easing pain, supporting the immune system, and reducing phlegm. However, one of the big issues when it comes to using cannabis if you have a pulmonary disease, is smoking.

Smoking cannabis is harmful to those with lung diseases as there is generally no filter on the “joint” and people tend to inhale deeper, leaving the smoke in the lungs for much longer than cigarettes or other tobacco products. The American Thoracic Society strongly argues against the smoking of marijuana, citing that it can cause large air sacs (bullae) to form in the lungs which could pop and cause lung collapse, ironically this is more likely to happen to marijuana smokers who are younger rather than older (under 45).

However, there are alternatives to smoking. Many people who don’t already smoke but want to get the benefits of medical marijuana choose to either ingest the product through edible items (such as cookies or brownies) or vapor (where the cannabis is heated at a lower temperature than burning which releases the active ingredients into a steam or vapor which can then be inhaled).

Some people may find that medical marijuana offers temporary relief from some of the symptoms of lung disease, but as it also comes with the side effect of getting high, there is a legal, moral and safety dilemma for many.

MORE: Eight of the most common lung diseases in women

Bronchiectasis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. susan m guthrie says:

    I have been using edible cannabis for my bronchiectasis for the past 6 months. It has really made a huge difference in my lung inflammation and discomfort. However, and this is a big disadvantage, I’m a psychologist and I have to think for a living. My short and long term memory, word recall, and the articulation of words has been really effected. These symptoms seem to have gotten worse the longer I use the edible cannabis. I haven’t yet found a solution and am experimenting with different strengths of CBD and THC hopeful that I can find something that doesn’t disturb my cognitive functioning so much and still improves symptoms.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Susan. Thank you for sharing your experience. The one problem that many people overlook with cannabis based products is the memory loss problem. While it does mask the pain and other symptoms it also effects memory. You can try to experiment with the oils as they have a better way of assimilating into the body.

      • Donna Nichols says:

        You have the same problems with the drugs the doctors give us for copd. the side effects on man made drugs can be just as bad or worse. I have copd and I will be 60 years old in may. My life is not what I want the quality it not good. If cannabis give me a better life and I can breath a lot better and I can take better care of myself. It is worth a little memory lose. Believe me I have lose a lot more with man made drags. My life sucks. What does my doctors say will at least you are breathing. But the quality of life is not there. The doctor do not look at quality of life they just keep giving you drugs that can made your copd worse. And that does not even touch all the other side effects from the drugs.

    • Virginia Beck says:

      I am an NP and am about to use a highly purified CBD oil which has NO THC in it.
      I will start on Jan 1 and keep you informed. A friend with silicosis used it and her cough entirely went away. I tried it on my dog for 2 months. She is fine, and acts a bit younger than her age (*o*). Nearly 10, she has begun to show some signs of arthritis, swelling of the elbow joint, and some other sx. If anything, her joint swelling is diminished, and I know she has less pain.
      I get it from a botanical processing plant in Colorado that has each batch numbered, and independently tested by 3 labs. Will keep you updated. The oil is concentrated and you can start with a few drops and titrate upwards. My 78 pound German Shepherd gets a solution that gives her about 1.5 mg of CBD in her food twice daily.
      I diluted in peanut oil and some beef broth for flavor. I plan to just take the drops.
      Tastes..herbal. Who knows? Smoothies, juice. Just some thoughts on experimenting on ourselves for a longer healthier life. We have to live with it.
      Have had bronchiectasis since 2006 sometime, after contracting pneumonia and nocardiosis. aloha. 🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺

  2. Barb says:

    OMG! …….”Some people may find that medical marijuana offers temporary relief from some of the symptoms of lung disease, but as it also comes with the side effect of getting high, there is a legal, moral and safety dilemma for many.” What is immoral about using pot? What about the safety issues surrounding alcohol and cigarettes which are both legal? This comment makes me livid!

    • Melanie says:

      I would think that the moral question would revolve around people who may have work, a job, a career in which it is important to them not to be “high” at work, just as they would not want to be drunk at work. Seems like a reasonable concern. Being drunk at a job could be a safety, oral and legal dilemma, and that is the framework I see this comment as applicable.

    • Cheryl says:

      Me too! And what about mind altering and even addicting drugs DR’s prescribe, as well as non addictive drugs that can cause way more harm and side effects then the good they are supposed
      to do?

  3. Laurel Stanford says:

    Memory loss isn’t a given. My memory has improved.

    My pulmonary doc trained under the head pulmonary doc at UCLA who stated he would far rather treat patients with cannabis than steroids.

    He even offered to prescribe me the government synthetic Marinol but I prefer an organic plant.

    Vaporizing has been amazing for my bronchiectasid.

    • missy young says:

      I have been reading all these comments….
      I have bronchiectasis the worst lung diease you could get I have been on presidone for twenty years and my bones are soft I have to be so carefull ect I have medical devices I use to help me breeth and after 12 years of fighting this lung problem I started using cbc oil. I have notice a big change I sleep better my coughing has in proved my mucous has slow down to wear I don’t blow out my ribs and my doctor said im breathing so better…I use the oil three times a day under my I can maybe alittle high but it helps so much I have even went down on my predoise so if you are like me and have tried everything its time to give the cbc oil a won’t hurt you like the drugs and I have been on chemo to yuk..i never knew there were so many people out there with this bron diease. I also use a resp device to help with my lungs good luck

  4. maggie mclaughlin says:

    I have had bronchiectasis for the past sixty years (am now sixty six years old). Have also got a pseudomonas infection for the last four years and my breathing is getting pretty f*****. Would vaporizing cbd be any help do you think and if so what sort of dosage to use.

  5. ronald mcnamara says:

    i,ve had lund dease for the last 20years as i was a smoker for forty odd years but havent smoked for the ever my doc put me on to vaporizing asmol an others but tto no affect however iam going to medicinal marijuana oil do you think it will help.ronald

  6. Sonam says:

    My mother is suffering from interstitial lung disease(ipf)…it is a very worst disease my mother is in very pain than word can explain..plzzz give some solution how this disease can be cured??can i use cbd oil??

    • missy says:

      dear sonam
      I can’t believe I have found someone out there that has the same lung problem as me would love to talk to you and yes it is the worst please email me maybe we can help each other

      • Barry Mc says:

        Hi Missy
        There is also a great online support group at, the Living with Pulmonary Fibrosis Community. I am interested in finding out more about the CBD also. You can email me also

  7. JOHN Lehnertz says:

    I have had COPD for a little over 9 years, about two years ago, I began to do a lot of research and learnt about a COPD TREATMENT from Rich Herbs Foundation and their success rate with the treatment,i immediately started on the treatment, i experienced reduction/decline in major symptoms, including the shortness of breath, fatigue, cough and wheezing. Visit RHF page ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. Its been over 1 years since treatment, i feel great and breath well

  8. Deborah Stead says:

    I have bronchiectasis, only recently diagnosed but its probably been there for 10 years. On New Years Eve I partook of a joint through a vaporiser and have not had to use my asthma preventer or reliever since. All phlegm has disappeared.

    I am fairly amazed at this but am wondering if the warm weather ( its summer where I live) is also a benefit.

  9. d cooke says:

    my Mum has been using Provacan 1200mg 12% CBD oil.
    She is in her 80’s with a milder form of copd (non smoking) & it seems to help her & she says she seems to have more energy too.
    I have looked for a reputable stronger legal UK supplier but this seems to be the best & strongest so far.

  10. Marlon Jay says:

    My girlfriend suffers from COPD and I really want to help her out. I have tried vaping CBD oil for my own issues of pain and anxiety. I would like to know if there is any chance vaping CBD would help her as well. She often complaints of chest pains which is really scary for her. Please, I would like some info if any. Thanks.

Leave a Comment